When a hurricane is spinning around in the Gulf, one of the biggest decisions is when to order an evacuation. It's an order that's not given lightly, and it's one that requires a lot of preparation. Two weeks ago, the state of Alabama had a dry run. Tony Harris, a spokesman for the Alabama Department of Transportation, says the state holds the rehearsal every year, where they practice making Interstate 65 a one-way highway going north.
Travelers in Pensacola will have to forego that drive on Scenic Highway for about another month or so. But WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports progress is being made with repairs, at a cost of $1.4 million.
Last month’s flooding decimated the popular route that runs beside Escambia Bay. It crumbled in four places and was closed immediately afterward. Ian Satter at the Florida Department of Transportation says some projects began earlier and others later, but work on all four areas is ongoing.
President Obama’s announcement Wednesday that bridge replacement would be accelerated under a new transportation plan includes one local project.
Speaking in Tarrytown, New York, Obama pointed to that city’s Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project – which is ahead of schedule -- as an example. And now, the President wants to broaden the list of such projects to be placed on the fast-track.
While residents hit hard by last week’s floods in Escambia and Santa Rosa County begin applying for federal assistance, work is underway at the state and local levels on repairing virtually washed-away roadways.
Ian Satter at the state Department of Transportation’s Quincy office says repairs are underway on some of the roads, and they’re mobilizing contractors to begin work on several others.
“They are a priority for us and we want to get them started as quickly as possible,” said Satter. “It’s just that the repairs are more complex than others.”
Residents and local officials gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Pensacola Tuesday, for a look at the proposed new bridge over Pensacola Bay.
Representatives from the Jacksonville-based consulting firm Reynolds, Smith and Hills unveiled the most current plan using the so-called west-central corridor to the Project Advisory Group -- 14 members representing local government, business and residents.
Ian Satter with DOT says the new bridge would feature some major changes – both aesthetic and practical -- from what’s now on the 54-year-old span.
Florida’s Department of Transportation is busy these days preparing a long-term plan to widen U.S. 98 to six lanes. But any such project remains well down the road.
DOT’s Ian Satter says the work is aimed at the portion of highway from Avalon Boulevard to Gulf Islands National Seashore. The rights-of-way acquisitions are part of the agency’s Five Year Work Program -- which has U.S. 98 improvements planned for next year, 2016 and 2017.
But when it comes to FDOT’s budget to build the additional lanes, he says for now, they’re running on empty.
Driving conditions are one of the main worries during an ice storm. Once Tuesday morning's rush hour was over everyone had a short sigh of relief. There were no icy conditions and roads were relatively clear. However preparations continue for the predicted freeze late this afternoon and evening.
Local and state leaders gathered at Pensacola City Hall in late January, and received some good news on the future of transportation infrastructure in the Florida Panhandle in general, and one bridge in particular.
The Florida Department of Transportation outlined its 5 year plan for the future this week. The outline from the FDOT include millions of dollars in future road improvements in the panhandle. Ian Satter, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation says the plans include a major road widening project.
9 Mile Road will be expanded from from two to four lanes from I-10 to Pine Forest Road. There will be some large scale resurfacing of roads in Escambia County including Creighton Road from Davis Highway to US-90.